A microelectromechanical system (MEMS) glow discharge plasma electron and ion source (GDEIS) was designed for operation in high-pressure environments such as planetary atmospheres for mass spectroscopy. Glow discharge electron/ ion sources create electrons and ions from gas molecules in an excited plasma. A plasma is generated between two charged plates, and the polarity induced determines the electron or ion signal.

The design was created using standard microfabrication batch processing techniques and materials. The design features reduced size, power, and mass, and is more robust than hot filament electron/ion sources. There is a potential for batch production and integration to MEMS-fabricated mass analyzers and mass spectrometer systems.

This work was done by Patrick Roman of Goddard Space Flight Center. For further information, contact the Goddard Innovative Partnerships Office at (301) 286-5810. GSC-16500-1